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Think of postwar Modernism and images of monumental buildings inevitably come to mind. However there were also figures working to introduce architectural modernity on a more approachable scale: the artists who illustrated Ladybird books, for instance, and the designers who created the first chain pubs. By expanding our focus to incorporate these minor modernisms we can develop a more holistic understanding of the period and move beyond the canonisation of certain buildings as icons to picture a more vibrant, living modernity.
But this does not mean abandoning a critical approach to production at the other end of the scale. Instead we should ask whether, in making Modernism available for domestic consumption, these pioneers were forced to compromise with the world that it was meant to change – or did they smuggle radical ideas into everyday life, transforming it more effectively than any bombastic building or high-minded polemic ever could?
Part of the Lost Futures / Futures Found series